When you think about driving on interstates with speeding vehicles and commercial trucks that could cause an accident at any second, you realize there is danger all around us.
We like to think we're safe, but the reality is a tragedy can strike at any second. But don't worry; not everything is all doom and gloom.
For the most part, this is the safest time to be alive throughout all of history.
With the advancements in medicine and technology, people are living healthier, longer, and safer lives.
However, that doesn't mean a freak accident can't happen.
When we hop in our cars and head out on the road, we multiply the things that can go wrong.
We're in a vehicle traveling at fast speeds, surrounded by other vehicles traveling at fast speeds, and we have faith that if we do everything right, we will be fine.
But those other vehicles have other drivers in them, and we have to trust that they are doing their best to stay safe as well.
Now, add in some enormous commercial trucks into the mix, and you're a sitting duck.
If you get into an accident with a commercial truck, it'll be like David fighting Goliath. And I'm not sure David wins this battle.
However, even though you have to rely on everyone else doing their part, there are things you can do yourself that will keep you safe around large trucks on the road.
If you do a few of those things the right way, you are helping to ensure your safety and making the life of the truck driver much easier.
Below we will talk about 7 ways to protect yourself and others on the road.
1. Give The Truck Space
The best thing you can do to decrease your chances of being in an accident with a truck is to avoid being close to the truck for too long.
Common sense, right? If you don't want to be in an accident with a truck, stay away from trucks.
If you're around a commercial truck long enough, you might be in an accident caused by things like:
- Sudden braking: If a commercial truck has to slam on his brakes, you might end up hitting the truck, sliding under it, or the truck could tip over.
- Tire blowouts: One of the remnants from a truck tire can tear off and smash into your car.
- High winds: Strong enough winds can cause trucks to tip over while they're driving.
To keep an adequate distance between you and the truck, you should maintain a following distance of at least four seconds.
Also, make sure you give the truck plenty of space while it turns. Especially when making right turns, when the truck could use two lanes to make the turn.
Don't pass a right-turning truck. You could be hit or trapped in the space between the truck and the curb, even if there is a gap between the rear and front wheels of the truck.
2. Use Caution When Passing
You should always be careful when you pass a commercial truck.
The bigger the truck, the less maneuverability the driver has, and the less likely they will be to stop fast enough if necessary.
The truck driver needs as much time as possible to react and adjust their speed or come to a stop.
When you pass a truck, try to do it on a flat surface. When a truck is going uphill or downhill, the truck is more likely to increase or decrease its speed.
Approach the truck from the left. It's much easier for the driver to see you if you pass on the left.
Once you've passed, don't merge back into the lane until you can see the truck in its entirety in your rearview mirror.
If a truck happens to pass you, slow down while the truck is passing to give the driver more space to get by and minimize your time in a blind spot.
3. Avoid All Blind Spots
Speaking of blind spots, you should do everything in your power to stay out of them.
A large commercial truck will have more blind spots than most other motorists.
When possible, you should stay out of the following areas to be sure the driver can see you at all times:
- The driver side lane going back to about half of the trailer’s length
- 20 feet in front of the truck
- 30 feet behind the truck
- Two lanes wide on the right side of the truck
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you can't see the driver in his side mirrors, he likely won't be able to see you.
4. Use Your Turn Signals
This should go without saying, but we'll cover it anyway.
Be sure to use your signals when changing lanes, turning, or passing commercial trucks.
You need to provide clear signals so the driver can anticipate what you're going to do.
Use your signal even sooner than you typically would so the diver has ample time to adjust his or her driving to accommodate you.
Any sudden turns or shifts with proper signaling could result in an accident.
5. Don't Drive Distracted
Something else that should go without saying, but you should be 100% focused on the road at all times, especially when following a truck.
Driving distracted puts you at an increased risk of having an accident.
Don't do anything that takes your hands off of the wheel or your eyes off of the road.
Cell phones should be in your pocket, drinks should be in the cup holders, and noisy passengers should be ignored.
Texting, in particular, causes thousands of accidents a year, so wait until you've finished driving to check your phone.
6. Be Careful When You Merge
Don't merge in front of a commercial truck if traffic is slowing down and has the potential of coming to a stop.
The truck could have difficulty slowing down, and you want to be sure you're not in its way when it is braking.
Remember again to slow down if the truck driver is passing you to shorten the time it takes him to get by.
7. Remember To Lower Your Brights
Many people are under the impression that their high beams won't affect truck drivers.
That's just not the case.
Your bright headlights could reflect off of the truckers side mirrors and temporarily blind them so always lower your high beams when you're near a commercial truck.
Being blinded is usually just an annoyance for most drivers, but for a truck driver, the results could be catastrophic.
Be Safe Out There
Driving, especially driving near large trucks can be tricky and dangerous.
If you follow the steps above you will significantly lower your chance of being involved in an accident with a commercial.
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, the lawyers at The Roth Firm are here to help.
There are countless things you need to take care of after your accident, and your health is at the top of that list.
The lawyers at The Roth Firm can help every step of the way, simply click the button below to schedule your free consultation now!